Them Crooked Vultures: Plymouth Pavilions
Words by Simon Hadley.
Rock’s most talked about supergroup began their seven-date UK tour last night in Plymouth, to the delight of the South West.
Them Crooked Vultures, comprised of Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age and Desert Sessions), Dave Grohl (Nirvana and the Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) as well as touring guitarist Alain Johannes (Desert Sessions and Eleven) did not disappoint.
The band kicked off their set list with ‘No One Loves Me & Neither Do I’, a raw plodding groove that descended into a Zeppelin-style breakdown wowed the Pavilions and set the tone for the rest of the night. The dream team rhythm section of Dave Grohl on drums and John Paul Jones on bass have a natural chemistry, which was evident on ‘Scumbag Blues’, a slice of classic 70’s rock that echoed Cream, with Josh Homme adding a bluesy lead riff into the mix.
The hard rock stomp of ‘Elephants’ soon followed, before a rare outing for ‘Highway One’, a track that narrowly missed out on the group’s debut album, but with talk of an EP release next year, may still see the light of day. ‘Gunman’, a hard rock-disco stomp echoed shades of Physical Graffiti era Zeppelin and was a fan favourite amongst the sold out crowd, showing how easy it is to add different textures to the bands already impressive arsenal.
However, it was John Paul Jones who stole the show. Introduced by Homme as : “One of your own”, multi-instrumentalist Jones, showed just why he is one of the greatest living and influential rock musicians of the last 40 years, effortlessly changing between bass guitar and the keytar, during ‘Interlude With Ludes’. Jones rounded off his performance by treating the crowd to a beautiful piano solo, which will hopefully feature on the group’s next album.
‘Mind Eraser, No Chaser’ bought the straight forward rock assault back into the set as did ‘Caligulove’, but set ending ‘Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up’, was the moment of the night. Warsaw bought together the harder and fuzzier moments from Homme’s first band Kyuss, and psychedelic Desert Sessions elements to create a psychedelic progressive rock wall of sound, with Homme, and touring guitarist Alain Johannes trading solos, putting the crowd into a hypnotic daze.
Clocking in at over 90 minutes the fans got their money’s worth and will be hoping that Them Crooked Vultures return to the South West sooner rather than later.